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Film Review: Between Two Ferns (2019)

Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) is a Netflix mockumentary based on the Between Two Ferns online series. Directed by Scott Aukerman, this film is lead by the star of the web series, Zach Galifianakis, and is supported by Lauren Lapkis, Ginger Gonzaga and Ryan Gaul. There is an all-star cast of people playing themselves as well in this film, which focuses on Zach trying to make his series Between Two Ferns a major television series. Having to record some sample tapes of his work, he and his crew embark on a journey to get accepted in Hollywood.

Between Two Ferns (2019) – source: Netflix

If the main reason you end up checking this show out is to watch brand new clips of Between Two Ferns, then you will end up leaving satisfied with this film. It is the main draw of the film, and they actually do have a lot of the film dedicated to these sequences. It does not compensate for the story and it does not feel over-used and badly balanced, and there are actually several sequences that tie directly to the story which I appreciated.

I was worried that the humour in this film would not match the humour in the original web series, but Zach is just as brilliant here as ever. This film actually made some commentary about humour online vs in Hollywood which I appreciated and helped tie in an overall theme to the film. All of the sequences were full of dry, dark jokes and moments which I ended up cracking myself over with.

The supporting A-star cast in this film is absolutely incredible and is filled with great moments from all of them. From Marvel stars to newcomers and incredible performers, there is somebody there for everyone. There is one moment outside of the segment sequences that stand out to me, and it is a little storyline that involves Chrissy Teigen and John Legend and that is all I will say here. I will not ruin the rest of the cast because part of the fun of this film is watching it and recognising the people that actually took part in the filming process.

Between Two Ferns (2019) – source: Netflix

Outside of the sequences though, I, unfortunately, found the rest of the film to be quite weak. The story is very simple in its presentation as a mockumentary. There have been some great mockumentaries in recent times (mainly Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), but this one felt really forced as a story to give the writers an excuse to have the Between Two Ferns sequences appear as often as they do.

Aside from the celebrities playing themselves, I did not like how any character was written in this film. They either felt so stereotypical and clichéd, or they were completely dumb and bland in personality. When there were long sequences of pure story here, the humour simply was not on par. None of the characters felt real, which did not help the situation or story feel real. By the end, I did not care how the film ended because I did not buy into the story and I did not care for any of the characters, including Zach.

Between Two Ferns (2019) – source: Netflix

Did this film do what it set out to do? Yes, it did. When this film shines is with the Between Two Ferns sequences that we have loved for over a decade, with the incredible cast taking part in this. However, as a mockumentary and overall film, I ended up being bored by the story and not caring about any of the characters. If this was an episodic series purely on the show sequences, I would have been able to recommend it. As it is though, I would just say to go on YouTube and watch the older clips.


Have you had a chance to check out Between Two Ferns: The Movie yet? Did you enjoy it for what it was, or were you let down? Let me know down below and let’s have a discussion.

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